Tài liệu A study on coherence in english paragraphs written by the tenth form students at thanh liem a upper secondary school

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING TAY BAC UNIVERSITY TRAN THI TAM GRADUATION PAPER A STUDY ON COHERENCE IN ENGLISH PARAGRAPHS WRITTEN BY THE TENTH FORM STUDENTS AT THANH LIEM A UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL Field: English Methodology SON LA, 2013 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING TAY BAC UNIVERSITY TRAN THI TAM GRADUATION PAPER A STUDY ON COHERENCE IN ENGLISH PARAGRAPHS WRITTEN BY THE TENTH FORM STUDENTS AT THANH LIEM A UPPER SECONDARY SCHOOL Field: English Methodology Supervisor: Mrs. Tran Thi Hong Le, MA SON LA, 2013 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor, Mrs. Tran Thi Hong Le, MA for her valuable guidance, correction, helpful suggestions and encouragements from the preparation to the completion of this study. I also would like to express my thankfulness to the teachers and the tenth form students at Thanh Liem A upper secondary school for their help in completing my survey questionnaires as well as sharing their ideas about some aspects of my research. My gratitude also sends to the teacher in the Department of Foreign Language for their help and care for me during the time I do this study. I am also indebted to all my friends who gave me assistance, and encouragement, without whom, the study would have no such great motivation. Last but not least, the support of members in my family extended to me has been immeasurable. I would like to send my gratefulness to them for their support and encourage throughout my study. Son La, 10th May, 2013 Tran Thi Tam K50 English Course ABSTRACT This study is an investigation into coherence in English paragraphs written by the tenth form students at Thanh Liem A upper secondary school. It is conducted to find out the coherence achievement in English paragraphs written by the tenth form students, to investigate students' perceptions of coherence in English paragraphs, to identify factors affecting coherence in students' English paragraphs and to give some suggestions to improve coherence in students’ English paragraphs. According to the data from the 120 students’ writing assignments collected; from the survey questionnaires conducting 120 tenth form students of 3 different classes, the result reveals that the tenth form students at Thanh Liem A upper secondary school face some difficulties, not only in the way of expressing ideas in their English paragraphs but also in using cohesive devices, synonyms of key nouns and consistent pronouns to make their written products coherent. Besides, lacking the knowledge about a good English paragraph, the students’ habits when writing paragraphs and the influence of the mother tongue are also factors affecting coherence in students’ English paragraphs although students’ perceptions of the importance of coherence in English paragraph writing are rather good. From a detail discussion of the major findings, the study gives some suggestions for teacher and students to improve coherence in students’ English paragraphs. TABLES OF CONTENT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABSTRACT TABLES OF CONTENT CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION .................................................................... 1 1.1. Rationale .................................................................................................... 1 1.2. Purposes of the study................................................................................. 2 1.3. Scope of the study ...................................................................................... 2 1.4. Research questions of the study ................................................................ 3 1.5. Methodology .............................................................................................. 3 1.6. Design of the study .................................................................................... 3 CHAPTER 2: THE LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................... 4 2.1. Theoretical background of writing ........................................................... 4 2.1.1. Definition of writing ................................................................................. 4 2.1.2. The importance of writing ........................................................................ 5 2.1.3. Kinds of writing ....................................................................................... 7 2.2. Theoretical background of paragraph ..................................................... 8 2.2.1. Definition of paragraph ............................................................................. 8 2.2.2. Structure of an English paragraph ............................................................. 8 2.2.3. Elements of a standard English paragraph ................................................ 9 2.3. Theoretical background of coherence .................................................... 11 2.3.1. Definition of coherence .......................................................................... 11 2.3.2. Cohesion versus coherence ..................................................................... 12 2.3.3. The roles of coherence ............................................................................ 12 2.3.4. Ways to achieve coherence...................................................................... 13 2.5. Summary .................................................................................................. 16 CHAPTER 3: DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS............................. 17 3.1. Situation ................................................................................................... 17 3.1.1. Aim ........................................................................................................ 17 3.1.2. Participants ............................................................................................. 17 3.1.3. Textbook ................................................................................................ 17 3.2. Data collection ......................................................................................... 18 3.2.1. Students’ writing assignments ................................................................ 18 3.2.2. The survey questionnaires ...................................................................... 19 3.3. Data collection ......................................................................................... 19 3.3.1. Students’ writing assignments ................................................................ 19 3.3.1.1. Repetition of key nouns ....................................................................... 19 3.3.1.2. Consistent pronouns............................................................................. 20 3.3.1.3. Transition signals................................................................................. 21 3.3.1.4. Logical order ....................................................................................... 24 3.3.2. The survey questionnaires………...………………………..…...……….24 3.3.2.1. Students’ background information ....................................................... 25 3.3.2.2. Students’ perception towards coherence in English paragraphs writing...... 26 3.3.2.3. Some common factors affecting coherence on students’ English paragraphs ......................................................................................................................... 29 3.4. Summary .................................................................................................. 31 CHAPTER 4: MAJOR FINDINGS AND SUGGESTIONS ........................ 32 4.1. Major findings ......................................................................................... 32 4.1.1. Findings from analyzing students’ writing assignments .......................... 32 4.1.2. Findings from analyzing the survey questionnaire .................................. 34 4.1.2.1. Students’ difficulties in the process of writing English paragraphs ...... 34 4.1.2.2. Students' perceptions towards coherence in English paragraphs writing ......................................................................................................................... 34 4.1.2.3. Some factors affecting coherence in students’ English paragraphs................ 35 4.2. Suggestions to improve coherence in students’ English paragraphs .......... 36 4.2.1. Some suggestions for teachers ................................................................ 36 4.2.2. Suggestions for students ......................................................................... 38 4.3. Summary .................................................................................................. 41 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION....................................................................... 42 5.1. Summary and emphasis .......................................................................... 42 5.2. Limitations and suggestions for further study ....................................... 42 REFERENCES APPENDICES LIST OF TABLES AND CHARTS Table 1: Use of key nouns ................................................................................ 19 Table 2: Use of consistent pronouns ................................................................ 20 Table 3: Use of transition signals...................................................................... 21 Table 4: Use of logical order ............................................................................ 24 Table 5: Students’ background information ..................................................... 25 Figure 1.1. Students’ perceptions of the importance of coherence in English paragraphs writing.............................................................................................. 26 Figure 1.2. Students’ frequency in paying attention to coherence when writing English paragraphs ........................................................................................... 27 Figure 1.3 Students’ explanation to the importance of coherence in English paragraph writing ............................................................................................. 27 Figure 1.4. Students’ ways to achieve coherence .............................................. 28 Figure 1.5. Students’ experience in writing English paragraphs ....................... 29 Figure 1.6. Students’ habits when writing English paragraphs.......................... 29 Figure 1.7. Students’ ways of writing English paragraphs ................................ 30 Figure 1.8. Students’ prior criteria in English paragraphs writing ..................... 31 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1. Rationale In the world today, there are 5,000 to 6,000 living languages among which English is by far the most widely used. As a mother tongue, it ranks second only to Chinese, which is little used outside China. English is spoken by more people than any other language, and is the native language of more than 350 million people. And it is also the international language of diplomacy, business, science, technology, banking, computing, medicine, aviation, UN & NATO armed forces, engineering, tourism, Hollywood films and arguably the best pop and rock music in the world… Because of its importance in our daily life in Vietnam, English is now taught as a compulsory subject in most school from primary schools to colleges. A great number of students have chosen English together with Maths and Literature or Maths and Physics as their major subjects for their entrance examinations into colleges and universities. Teaching and learning English; therefore, have become so necessary. It is undeniable that the most vital purpose of learning foreign language is to communicate successfully with foreigners. Therefore, to communicate well, people need to enrich lots of skill including listening, reading, speaking and writing skill. Writing is an important productive skill in language learning. It can objectively reflect students’competence of thinking, organizing and expressing ideas. In English teaching, writing is considered as a difficult skill for both teachers and students. In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of the English writing skill at high schools in Vietnam. The writing skill is part of the English syllabus at high schools. According to the curriculum in the new English 10 textbook, students have to learn a lot of writing skills, such as filling in a form, writing letter, writing announcement, etc, among which, writing an English paragraph is one of the main focus. However, there is a fact that a number of the tenth form students in upper secondary schools in general and at Thanh Liem A upper secondary school in 1 particular, at present, cannot write a standard paragraph even if they have acquired a large number of vocabulary, studied a lot about English grammar and paragraph format. It can be explained that in the writing lessons, teachers usually focus on grammar and vocabulary rather than teaching English as a whole; therefore, students can only be completely correct at sentence level. When asked to produce a paragraph they are not well- done because a good English paragraph does not only depend on correct grammatical structures, but it is the combination of grammar and other factors such as unity and coherence. If in writing sentences, grammar and vocabulary are the most noticeable matters, a lack of coherence in paragraphs is also one of the major problems confronted in paragraphs writing beside a lack of unity in paragraph ideas and organization. Because of these reasons, I decided to carry out the study named: “A study on coherence in English paragraphs written by the tenth form students at Thanh Liem A upper secondary school” 1.2. Purposes of the study The main purposes of the study are as the following:  To find out the coherence achievement in English paragraphs written by the tenth form students  To investigate students' perceptions of coherence in English paragraphs  To identify factors that affect coherence in students' English paragraphs  To give some suggestions to improve coherence in students’ English paragraphs 1.3. Scope of the study In the curriculum, students have to learn a lot of writing skills, such as filling in a form, writing letters, writing announcements, etc. However, in this study, the researcher only focuses on English paragraphs. A good English paragraph is made by different elements, such as organization, structure, unity, expressions; however, due to the lack of time the concentration of the study is to focus on coherence in paragraphs not on other elements. 2 1.4. Research questions of the study The study is carried out in order to find out the answers to these research questions:  What is the real situation of coherence achievement in English paragraphs of the tenth form students?  What are students’ perceptions of coherence in English paragraphs?  What are factors affecting the use of coherence in students’ English paragraphs?  What are suggestions to improve coherence in students’ English paragraphs? 1.5. Methodology In order to collect sufficient data for the anlysis the following methods were employed. Theoretically, the researcher spent time reading books and materials available on coherence to get knowledge of the subject. Moreover, in order to find out the real situation of coherence achievement in students’ paragraphs, analyzing students’ written assignments was conducted. In addition, using questionnaires is also used to help the researcher collect the data. The researcher can analyze and report all the collected data to help the study more realistically. 1.6. Design of the study The study is divided into 5 chapters presented below: Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The literature review Chapter 3: The data collection and analysis Chapter 4: Major findings and suggestions Chapter 5: Conclusion 3 CHAPTER 2 THE LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter makes a review involving in theoretical background of writing, paragraph and coherence. 2.1. Theoretical background of writing 2.1.1. Definition of writing There are various definitions of writing by different methodologists. Each definition is a reflection of underlying theories or perspective that the author assumes. According to Ur (1996) “ most people acquire the spoken language intuitively, whereas the written form is in most cases deliberately taught and learned.” He added that “ writing normally requires some forms of instruction. It is not a skill that is readily picked up by exposure.” It means that writing is a productive skill we cannot acquire it without being trained. Seeing writing in a different point of view, Leki (1976) states that: “Writing is communicating. Good writing gets out of your head and into the reader’s head without loosing or distorting those ideas”. In its broadened sense, as a process Hedge (2000) described “Writing is the result of employing strategies to manage the composing process, which is one of gradually developing a text. It involves a number of activities, setting goals, generating ideas, organizing information, selecting appropriate language, making a draft, reading and reviewing it, then revising and editing. It is a complex process which is neither easy nor spontaneous for many second language writers. According to “Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary” (1989), writing is to make letter or other symbols on a surface (usually paper), especially with a pen or pencil”. Writing, in Davies’s point of view, involved two kinds of skills. The first ones low- level skill such as handwriting or typing, spelling, constructing grammatical sentences, organizing and sequencing, structuring, drafting, and editing. 4 Besides, Byrne (1988) gave a long and complex definition which can be summarized as follow: Writing is the act of forming graphic symbols which were arranged according to certain convention to form words and words which were arranged to form sentences and we produced a sequence of sentence arranged in particular order and linked together in certain way, on a flat surface of some kind. All in all, Byrne’s definition can be considered one of the most complete definitions of writing because it covers all of the features of writing given by above mentioned authors. 2.1.2. The importance of writing Written words and the time spent practicing the art of writing are both therapeutic and an ideal manner and opportunity for the constructive selfexpression that is sorely needed in modern society. Writing allows an individual to express and develop thoughts and ideas like no other pursuit. Writing creatively opens new realms of ideas, particularly in students during their formative years. Even during their earliest handwriting exercises, children must combine complex physical and cognitive processes to render letters precisely and fluidly. From first grade on, they write nearly every day and they are asked to do more with this skill than with any other except reading. And as children progress through school, writing requirements — from homework assignments and class work to note taking and tests — increase across the curriculum. As writing tasks become more difficult, students must call on an increasingly wide range of skills to not only write legibly, logically, and in an organized way but also to invoke rules of grammar and syntax. This combination of requirements makes writing the most complex and difficult use of language. Precision in the use of language and the ability to use grammar and punctuation correctly is important as incorrect usage can alter the meaning of the words that you have used. In pragmatic terms, during the course of our studies, we will find that students who can write in a way that fits with the expectations and requirements of the lecturers will achieve greater success in their 5 coursework. This is because you are assessed not solely on your legal knowledge but on your ability to write in a way that is in keeping with the formality and precision of language use within the legal profession. When we learn a second language, we learn to communicate Ann Raimes (1983: 3) thinks “…an additional and very important reason: writing helps our students learn”. She shows three ways in which students can learn through writing:  Firstly, writing reinforces the grammatical structures, idioms and vocabulary that we have been teaching our students  Secondly, when our students write, they also have a chance to be adventurous with the language, to go beyond that they have just learned to say, to take risk.  Thirdly, when they write, necessarily become very involved with the new language, the effort to express ideas and the constant use of eye, hand and brain is a unique way to reinforce learning. Donn Byrne (1988) believes that “writing serves a variety of pedagogical purposes”. Firstly, “the introduction and pracice of some form of writing enable us to provide for different learning styles and needs”. There can be no doubt that in some circumstances, for some individuals, learning through oral practice alone is not a good idea. Some feel more secure if they are allowed to read and write in the language. In this way, they are given an opportunity to work at their own pace. Secondly, “writing is often needed for formal and informal testing.” It is the commonest way of examining students’ performance in English. There it can offer tangible results to parents, students and teachers. Here writing satisfies a psychological need. Thirdly, “writing provides variety in classroom activities serving as a break from oral work”. It is the quieter and more relaxed time for both students and teachers. At that time, writing increases the amount of language contact through work that can be set out of class. To sum up, writing takes an important role in language acquisition and becomes a valuable part of any language course. In addition, the teachers should be very clear about our purpose in teaching writing. 6 2.1.3. Kinds of writing According to Syed Hunbbel Meer on the Website http://hunbbelmeer.hubpages.com, there are four types of writing that are generally used. The first type is Expository Writing. Expository writing is a subject-oriented writing style, in which the main focus of the author is to tell about a given topic or subject, and leave out his personal opinions. The second one is Descriptive Writing. Descriptive writing often focuses on describing a character, an event or a place in great details. It is sometimes poetic in nature in which the author is specifying the details of the event rather than just the information of that event happened. Persuasive Writing is considered as the next kind of writing. It is a type of writing which contains justifications and reasons to make someone believe on the point the writer is talking about. Persuasive writing is for persuading and convincing on your point of view. It is often used in complaint letters, when you provide reasons and justifications for your complaint; other copywriting texts, T.V commercials, affiliate marketing pitches etc. are all different types of persuasive writing, where author is persuading and convincing you on something he wants you to do and/or believe. Besides, Narrative Writing is also one of the four types of writing. Narrative writing is a type of writing in which the author places himself as the character and narrates you to the story. Novels, short stories, novellas, poetry, biographies can all fall in the narrative writing style. Simply, narrative writing is an art to describe a story. The opinion of Amanda Morin about kinds of writing on the website http://childparenting.about.com also has the same idea with Syed Hunbbel Meer’s point of view. In addition, Melly gives another way to divide the kinds of writing is from a target audience, or purpose point of view. So kinds of writing can be: academic writing , professional writing, business, copying, journalists, columnists, article writers - these writers write for newspapers and magazines either news articles, commentary or articles which focus on a certain subject, novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, short stories writers, poets, etc. 7 2.2. Theoretical background of paragraph 2.2.1. Definition of paragraph Up to now, several definitions of what is paragraph have been made. For some people, a paragraph is simply a course of idention that is beginning a line a little to the right of the margin. In other situations paragraphing is indicated by a skipped line and a new sentence beginning at the left- hand margin ( Robert and Willson 1980). In a word, these definitions of paragraph tend to focus on them in terms of their punctuation. There is another trend to define paragraph. Rooks (1998) say that “A paragraph is a group of sentences which develops logically one subject”. Hall (1985) and Roy & Roy (1993) also share the view with Rooks. They insist on the fact that all the sentences in a paragraph are written to develop only one single thought. Richard Larson explains the three categories of paragraph theory: paragraphs as expanded sentences, governed by comparable syntactical forces; as self-contained units of writing with their own unique principles; and as parts of the overall discourse, informed by the strategies a writer chooses for the overall piece. Galperin shows that “a paragraph is a graphical term used to name a group of sentences marked off by indentation at the beginning and break in the dot at the end”. Meanwhile, Oshima and Hogue (2006) state “a paragraph is a basic unit of organization in writing in which a group of related sentences develops one main idea”. From the above definitions, a paragraph can be understood: A paragraph is a self-contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or a single idea. It consists of one or series of sentences closely related to one another and devoted to the development of one topic. It is marked off by indentation at the beginning, pauses of various lengths and a break in the dot at the end. 2.2.2. Structure of an English paragraph Professor Karin S. Alderfer said that just as a sentence has essential parts, a subject and a verb, a paragraph has essential parts. The first is a topic. Every paragraph is about something. The topic, or subject, is what the paragraph tells 8 about. Every paragraph also needs a main idea. This is the general and most important idea that the paragraph discusses about the topic. Supporting details are sentences that prove, support, or give more information about the main idea. According to Jennifer Duncan (1992) structure of an English paragraph includes three main parts. A paragraph has a beginning that introduces the reader to the subject at hand, a middle that develops the point by further explication and supporting details, and an end that emphasizes the significance of the insight you have arrived at or provides a transition to the next paragraph. Ann Hogue (2008) and also indicates that an English paragraph has three major parts. A good paragraph should have a topic sentence, several supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. The topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph. It not only names the topic of the paragraph, but it also limits the topic to one or two areas that can be discussed completely in the space of a single paragraph. The middle sentences in a paragraph are called the supporting sentences. That is, they explain the topic sentence by giving reasons, examples, facts, statistics, and quotations. The concluding sentence signals the end of the paragraph. It often repeats the topic sentence in different words or summarizes the main points. F. Scott Walters (2000) also has the same point of view with Ann Hogue. It can be concluded that a Standard English paragraph should contain three main parts: a topic sentence, supporting sentences and a concluding sentence. 2.2.3. Elements of a standard English paragraph Oshima and Hogue (1998) gave Peer editing checklist in Writing Academic English including: assignment format, structure, unity, coherence, development, expression and grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. Assignment Format consists of these following criteria:  Paper: 2.5cm margin on right and 2.5cm margin on left  Title: the title of the paragraph is in the center on the top line of the first page 9  Body: The paragraph begins on the third line after skipping a line; indent the first line of every paragraph about 2.5cm from the margin, write on every other line.  The space between lines must be 1.5cm An English paragraph must have three major parts. A good paragraph should have a topic sentence, several related supporting details and a concluding sentence. A good topic sentence should contain a topic, a main idea, and the controlling idea. Supporting details are sentences used to support the main idea stated in the topic sentence. A concluding sentence should review the topic sentence and give some final thought about the subject. Unity means that you discuss only one main idea in a paragraph. The main idea is stated in the topic sentence, and the each and every supporting sentence develops that idea. Coherence means that your paragraph is easy to read and understand because your supporting sentences are in some kinds of logical order and your ideas are connected by the use of appropriate transition signals. A paragraph is adequately developed when it describes, explains and supports the topic sentence. A paragraph which consists of only two or three sentences is under-developed. A good rule of thumb to follow is to make sure that a paragraph contains at least four sentences which explain and elaborate on the topic sentence. A good paragraph will conclude the standard sentences with different lengths. It means that simple sentences, compound, complex; compound -complex sentences are used flexibly in the paragraph. In addition, the paragraph must not have some mistakes like choppy sentence, stringy sentences, etc. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are also necessary elements to make a good paragraph. All in all, to produce a good paragraph, it is necessary for the writer to pay attention to such elements as assignment format, unity, structure, development, expression, etc. And coherence is also one of them which needs students to keep an eye on when they wrote a paragraph respectively. 10 2.3. Theoretical background of coherence 2.3.1. Definition of coherence “Co” is a Latin prefix that means “together” or “with”. The verb “cohere” means hold together”. Traditional definitions of coherence focus on the idea that the product of the process of writing, namely, a text, should hang together in a way that makes its content have some arrangement of order or sequence. Such an order or sequence is thought to be largely related to the connectedness between sentences or through using cohesive devices at the paragraph level. As Bamberg (1983:417) stated, the first analysis on coherence was carried out in the nineteenth century by Alexander Bain, who work on paragraph structure, stating in his first rule that “the bearing of each sentence upon what precedes shall be explicit and unmistakable”. Halliday and Hasan (1976: 13) defined the term as “the property of signalling that the interpretation of the passage in question depends on something else”. On the other hand, Bander (1983: 6) only focuses on how the main ideas of a text are structured, without paying any attention to other aspects implied by coherence, saying that a paragraph is coherent “when its ideas are clearly related to each other in orderly sequence”. Although coherence has been accorded the increasing interest by the teachers and researchers around the world, such as Enkvist (1990), Witt and Faigley (1981), it is still an illusive concept. Therefore, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the concept of coherence Law Davies (1993) and Pilus (1996) agree that the definition of coherence is best viewed through two essential criteria: text-based coherence and reader based coherence. The former refers to the internal structure of the text itself while the latter is connected to the process of writer- reader interaction. Coherence in a paragraph according to Oshima & Hogue (1996) means that the paragraph is easy to read and understand because your supporting sentences are in some kind of logical order and your ideas are connected by the use of appropriate transition signals. In other word, it means that one sentence follows another in clear, logical sequence. Coherence allows the readers to move 11 from one idea to the next, seeing the connection between ideas, and the connection of the ideas to the topic sentence. Coherence is the factor that decides whether a language product is a text or not and is the semantic, implicit relation inside the text itself. Coherence is built upon the semantic ties in discourse (Yule, 90). Coherence is “the relationships which link the sense of utterances in a discourse or of sentences in a text” (Richard, 74). According to Palmer (1999), coherence refers to the rhetorical devices, the ways of writing and speaking that bring about order and unity and emphasis”. To sum up, among above mentioned definitions Oshima & Hogue’s definition about is considered as the most complete definition of coherence. It brings a clear, full sight about coherence and makes sense to every reader. 2.3.2. Cohesion versus coherence According to McCarthy (1991) cohesion is only a guide to coherence and coherence is something created by the reader in the act of the text. He insists that coherence is the feeling that a text hangs together to make sense. Obviously, cohesion involves formal linguistic links between sections of a text. These are things that can be listed pointed at and classified. Coherence is more difficult to define or analyze since it refers to the way we know a text holds together by continuity of theme, cause and effect relations and others. Cohesion is a surface structure, so we recognize it immediately. Coherence especially when cohesive features are rare in a text, may only emerge slowly. Thompson (1996) states: “Coherence is in the mind of the writer and reader: it is a mental phenomenon and can not be identified or quantified in the same way as cohesion”. Cohesion and coherence are in most cases linked in the way that a text which exploits the cohesive resources of the language effectively is normally perceived as coherent. That is why cohesion is crucial linguistic resource in the expression of coherent meanings. 2.3.3. The roles of coherence In language teaching, coherence is a component of the writing skill which plays a crucial part in writing quality. Hatch (1992) said, “Without coherence, a text is not properly a text”. 12 The notion of coherence in discourse is so important that if any two utterances or sentences are produced in a sequence , a semantic relation or logical connection between them will be assumed. A coherent text, therefore, is one where interpreter can readily reconstruct the speaker’s plan with reasonable certainty, by inferring the relations among the sentences and their individual relations to the various sub-goals in the inferred plan for the entire to be understood at hand. Coherence contributes to the unity of a piece of discourse such that the individual sentences or utterances hand together and relate to each other. That means, for any text or discourse to be coherent, it must make sense and also have unity and so be well - informed. Coherence is the verbal thread that binds one sentence to another when a paragraph is coherent the reader can see a continuous line of thought passing from one sentence to the next. When a paragraph is incoherent, the sentences are discontinuous, and readers may lose their ways (Hefferman & Lincohn, 1990). Coherence helps a writer generate a good piece of writing because all of the ideas are developed step-by-step. Thus a reader can follow the ideas of a writer easily. Bates (1998) explains that if the production of thought in writing has no coherence, a reader will become confused about the ideas presented. A paragraph with poor coherence affects the understanding of the message because the paragraph may contain mixed up ideas or a sudden change in focus from one idea to the next. 2.3.4. Ways to achieve coherence Agree & Kline (1985) insisit that in revising for coherence the writer needs to use for specific writing techniques to show the relationship between ideas. The first technique is sentence combining. In fact, it is one of the most useful tools in achieving coherence because it employs the most common devices in the language for bringing out the relationship between ideas. Secondly, transition signals also need to be appropriately used. This technique is closely related to sentence combining. Transiton signals also help the reader follow more easily the pattern of the writer’s thinking. Thirdly, parallelism is another key to 13
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